Holy Ghost

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D. L. Moody is reported to have said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man wholly committed to him.” With all due respect, I think Mr. Moody overlooked a fair number of men, sold out to the Lord, wholly committed in all their labors. George Whitefield was one such man. On this day, October 14th, in 1770, the Rev. James Sproat brought a memorial address occasioned by the then recent death of Rev. Whitefield. While Whitefield was himself an Anglican, his influence among Presbyterians in the American colonies was extensive. What follows is but a small excerpt from that sermon. To read the full text of Rev. Sproat’s sermon, click here.

George Whitefield departed this life (according to our public accounts) on the 30th of September last, at Newbury Port, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, in New-England, by a sudden and violent fit of the asthma.

I am very sensible, my brethren, of my incapacity of doing justice to the memory of this truly great, and excellent personage. It really needs a genius like his own; and that eloquence, which was peculiar to himself; fully to delineate his character, and describe his virtue. I know not one character in the sacred pages, in which there is a great similarity, than the words of the text. He was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost, and of faith. And much people was added to the Lord. (Acts 11:24)

As to his person, we have all of us had frequent opportunities of admiring his graceful countenance and manly deportment; which commanded reverence and respect; excited esteem and affection in persons of every rank and quality.–His birth, parentage, and education, the world has long ago been favoured with accounts of, in his printed journals.—He early discovered a singular taste for science, joined with a sprightly and florid genius. His education was completed at Oxford, one of the most illustrious universities in Europe.–It pleased God, who designed him for very great and eminent services in his church, early to change his heart by the power of Divine grace; and by a thorough and remarkable conversion, to turn him from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that he might receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Thus all the powers of his mind became strongly engaged to the study of divinity. The important doctrines of grace, and the admirable scheme of redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ;—the condemned, miserable state of sinners;—free justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ received by faith alone;—the powerful operations of the holy and blessed Spirit to regenerate and sanctify the human heart, were subjects of his most solemn and delightful contemplation. Under the lively impression of those things, his pious heart was turned to the great work of the Gospel ministry. In this important business he engaged, and to this glorious work he devoted himself, as soon as the rules of that church, of which he was a member, would permit.

Being good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith; fired with a flaming zeal for his Lord and master; filled with bowels of tender compassion to immortal souls; and favoured with more than Ciceronian eloquence;—he soon became the wonder of the world as a preacher. The attention of persons of all ranks, sects, and denominations, was attracted by him. And the hand of the Lord was with him in such a powerful manner, that great numbers were presently joined to the Lord by his ministry. Though he always manifested a peculiar regard for the Church of England, in which he had been educated; yet as he set out in the ministry upon principles truly catholic and noble, so he steadily and vigorously retained them to his expiring moments.

Pursuant to these principles of catholicism, he was determined not to know any thing among the people, but Jesus Christ and him crucified. Upon this plan he let out; and upon this plan he prosecuted the great work of preaching the gospel to all sorts of people that would give him an hearing. To Jews, infidels, freethinkers, as well as to all denominations of Christians without exception. And this grand business of publishing the gospel of peace he pursued for a great number of years with the most indefatigable assiduity, prodigious eloquence, and flaming zeal, through England, Scotland, Ireland, and the widely extended dominions of British America.

As a speaker, he was furnished with such admirable talents, with such an easy method of address, and was such a perfect master of the art of persuasion, that he triumphed over the passions of the most crowded auditories, with al the charms of sacred eloquence.—He was of undaunted courage and heroic resolution, in the cause of his divine Master. Nor the frowns, nor the flatteries of the world; with all its insults and outrages, its allurements or charms, could ever turn him aside from endeavouring to win immortal souls to the Lord Jesus Christ.


We urge you to read on. This is but an excerpt, pp. 16-18, from A discourse occasioned by the death of the Reverend George Whitefield, A.M., late Chaplain to the Right Honourable the Countess of Huntingdon : delivered October 14, 1770, in the Second Presbyterian Church in the city of Philadelphia. (1771), by the Rev. James Sproat [1722-1793].

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girardeau06

Today’s entry is not easy reading. It is long, too. But it will reward your time, if you will set aside some time for thoughtful reading. The Rev. John L. Girardeau was one of the brightest lights of the old Southern Presbyterian Church. He gave much of his life to minister to the slaves of the seaboard of South Carolina. He wrote, “Having rejected a call to a large and important church which had very few Negroes connected with it, I accepted an invitation to preach to a small church, surrounded by a dense body of slaves.” As Dr. Otis Pickett has noted, “God had given him a heart for the Low-country blacks of Charleston, and he refused to leave them.” The Rev. John L. Girardeau passed on to his eternal reward on June 23, 1898.

The Only Way of Salvation
by John L. Girardeau
Old Paths, Vol. III, no. 5 (date?)

(Note: The following discussion is drawn from a workbook of sermon outlines found among the literary remains of Dr. Girardeau. It was never designed for publication, but we feel justified in printing it just as it stands–an unrevised outline. It was used as a basis of a sermon, in two parts, delivered in the Second Presbyterian Church (Arsenal Hill), Columbia, S.C., Feb. 20 and 27, 1887.–Editor.)

Text: Romans 1:17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

The Apostle Paul furnishes in this chapter a summary of his great argument, touching justification before God, in three leading propositions.

He first states its conclusion–namely: The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek; that is, to all sinners of every class.

But why is the Gospel such a power? Because, in the second place he declares, therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.

But why was such a righteousness necessary? Because, in the third place he affirms, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.

To make this general statement of the argument perfectly clear, let us invert the order of the propositions, so as to present the reasons first and the conclusion last.

First. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. That is to say, all men are ungodly and unrighteous; they are therefore guilty before God and justly exposed to His wrath.

Secondly. God has provided a way of escape from His wrath for guilty men. He has revealed His righteousness to them, and declared that whosoever believes in it shall live.

Thirdly. This righteousness of God the Gospel alone reveals, and therefore the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

It is evident that the second of these propositions, either in the Apostle’s order of statement or the inverse, is that which gives an answer to the question, How can a sinner escape the wrath of God, and be justified and saved? How? He must by faith accept and rely upon the righteousness of God. He who is justified by faith in the righteousness of God shall live.

This is the inspired Apostle’s account of God’s method of justifying and saving sinners.

Let us examine the different answers which men give to the great question. How may we as sinners be justified and saved?

I. The Answer of the Mere Naturalist or Indifferentist : “We may be justified and saved with no righteousness. God will not require of us, weak as we are, a righteousness which embraces conformity to His law. We may be saved by the mere benevolence or mercy of God. He is infinitely good, and will not condemn any of His creatures to hell. He may dispense with the Law.”

This is impossible, because:
1. His justice would be sacrificed.
2. His law would be sacrificed.
3. His truth would be sacrificed.
4. His holiness would be sacrificed. It [His holiness] forbids fellowship with the unholy, and none can be holy except they be first justified.

This supposition requires that the standard of mercy should be planted on the graves of justice, truth and holiness.

5. The interests of God’s moral government would be sacrificed.

6. The scheme of redemption precludes the supposition. The cross of Christ and the grace of the Holy Ghost are not vanities. They mean something.

7. The supposition is impossible and absurd. The sinner would be justified without justification, saved from guilt without salvation from it. To say that he need not be justified, or saved, is to insult God and common sense alike.

God cannot dispense with His law; and as it requires righteousness, the sinner must furnish it, or continue under its condemning sentence. He must be righteous or be lost.

II. The Answer of the Legalist : “We may be justified and saved on account of our own righteousness–a merely personal and inherent obedience to law.”

This is refuted by the Apostle’s brief, but irrefragable argument: “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

1. The law convinces of sin. The law condemns for sin. The law therefore kills. It cannot save. What convicts cannot acquit; what condemns cannot absolve from punishment; what kills cannot confer life.

2. One sin destroyed the possibility of Adam’s justification. The inference as to the sinner is overwhelming.

3. The righteousness of one who is already a sinner, even if he supposed that he could produce any, would be necessarily imperfect and unsatisfactory. It would not be the righteousness which the law demands. The Legalist is thrown back upon the position of the Naturalist or Indifferentist. According to his own view, he must present a perfect righteousness. He fails; and out of his own mouth will be condemned.

4. A sinner under the curse of God’s law cannot furnish any acceptable righteousness. He cannot be unjust and just, cursed and blessed, at the same time.

But he may take the ground that God will relax His law.

Answer:
(1) God cannot relax His law. That would be to relax justice, an infinite attribute of His nature, of which the law is a transcript.

(2) If He did, it would be a graduated scale adapted to the strength of each subject. And as in fact none have in themselves any strength, it would be reduced to zero. This is infinitely absurd.

(3) Even were it relaxed, it has already condemned. To relax the condemnation as well as the requirement of the law would be to sacrifice justice and truth.

(4) The law was not relaxed in the case of the angels that fell, nor in the case of the suffering Savior.

He may contend that God will accept his sincere though imperfect righteousness.

Answer: That only holds in the case of the justified believer.

Finally, he may hope that his imperfect righteousness will be accepted for Christ’s sake, and be supplemented by Christ’s merit.

Answer: This is impossible. There can be no compounding of law and grace, faith and works. They are contradictory and mutually exclusive.

Further, Christ’s merit is infinite; and there can be no addition of the infinite to the finite, or of the finite to the infinite.

The conclusion is: THe case of the Legalist, either pure or modified, which would include the Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian, is hopeless.

III. The Answer of the Socinian : “We may be justified and saved by sincere repentance for sin.”

This is impossible, because:

1. Repentance is impossible to a sinner. He is legally and spiritually dead. He cannot repent. Another view of repentance is altogether unscriptural.

(1) He is under the curse of the law. If he could repent, he would be restored to God’s favor, for God cannot condemn a penitent. The sinner, then, would be condemned and not condemned, cursed and blessed, at one and the same time.

(2) Repentance is a spiritual function or saving grace. It implies turning from sin to God, from [i.e., because of, or out of] spiritual motive of love to God. This [is] impossible to one in his natural condition.

If it be said, that repentance removes the curse of the law: God will forgive; the answer is: First, God says He will not without blood. Secondly, repentance does not remove sentence of human law.

2. Even if he could repent, his repentance, as a confession of unrighteousness, would negative his claim to furnish righteousness. His personal condition is that of an unrighteous man. He pleads guilty, and law knows no mercy. It has already proved that mercy cannot set aside the divine law. Righteousness is required.

Repentance offers no atonement for sin, and if it be supposed that God must save one as penitent, even without atonement, since no penitent being can be punished, He would contradict His own express word that without shedding of blood is no remission.

To say that our tears can wash away our sins, is to impeach the love of God the Father for His dying Son. Why that blood, if our tears can expiate sin? Stop this audacious impeachment of the Cross!

The supposition is impossible, and we are therefore obliged to fall back upon the scriptural doctrine that no sinner, in his natural strength, can repent. There can, consequently, be no justification and salvation on account of repentance.

3. Repentance, in one’s natural strength, would be compliance with the requirement of the law. It would be a deed or work of the law; and the Apostle declares that by the deeds (or works) of the law shall no flesh be justified. It is clear that repentance is required by the law. But nature gives no strength to meet the demand.

IV. The Answer of the Romanist : “We may be justified and saved by our own righteousness, made possible by the atoning merits of Christ and produced by the aid of the Spirit’s grace.”

Christ, he contends, by His merit secured a second probation for sinners. He also acquires for them the grace of the Holy Ghost to enable them to produce personal obedience. This he urges, is not a legal, but a gracious, rightousness; and consequently justification on its account is not justification by law, but by grace.

On the contrary, such a righteousness, were it possible, would be a legal righteousness, and justification would be impossible. For by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.

The great principle which holds here is this: A righteousness receives its denomination not from the source in which it originates, but from the end which it contemplates.

Take the case of the Pharisee: Judged in accordance with his claim, his case was that of Adam in innocence. Of course, had Adam produced his righteousness and been justified on account of it, his righteousness would have been legal, and his justification a legal debt. Yet, it would have originated in grace. For all his natural endowments were the gifts of the Creator. In his case, while he was innocent, there was no difference between nature and the strength of grace. Natural ability was gracious ability. Although, therefore, had he stood, he would have wrought out his righteousness in the strength of grace, it would have been a legal righteousness, because it would have been his own and because he sought justification on its account. But is is preposterous to talk of a sinner being justified in that way.

The Romanist’s justifying righteousness is clearly a personal and inherent one, on account of which he seeks justification, and is therefore a legal one—that is it is a complement of his own works. But by the deeds of the law, no matter how, no matter in what strength performed, no flesh, not even Papal, shall be justified. The Apostle’s great enouncement excludes all works of our own from the ground of justification.

Think of it! The agonies of Calvary undergone that the sinner may have a chance to justify and glorify himself! The blood of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Ghost mere ministers to self-righteousness! The soul sickens at the blasphemy.

Justification is monstrously confounded with sanctification, and holiness, the matter of sanctification, cannot be the ground of salvation. It is an essential part of salvation; never a ground.

Not that which is wrought in us by the Holy Ghost Himself can be a ground of salvation.

Consider this you professing Christians. How much better are your claims than those of the circumcised Pharisee and the baptized Romanist? Solemn question! Settle it aright.

V. The Answer of the Arminian : “We may be justified and saved by faith in the merit of Christ, our faith being imputed to us as our righteousness, in place of a strict, personal righteousness of law.”

Distinction admitted to be made by the Evangelical Arminian. He does not make faith the ground of justification, but he does make it the matter. The merits of Christ he holds to be the ground of justification, but faith in those merits is the righteousness which justifies. We are justified by faith, not as the instrument through which we merely receive justification, but as the justifying righteousness itself. Yet this is not a righteousness, consisting of works.

In proof, they plead Abraham’s case in the fourth chapter of Romans: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness.” That is to say, Abraham’s faith was imputed to him, as his justifying righteousness: by it, on account of it, he was justified.

Let us try to get at the Arminian’s position–if we can. The question being, what is justifying righteousness? He answers: Faith. Is faith then a righteousness of works? He answers: No. What then is it? It is, he says, only trust in the merits of Christ. Is it then Christ’s righteousness which is imputed to faith? He answers, no. Where then is there any righteousness at all? He answers: Faith is imputed as if it were righteousness, in place of a legal righteousness. God regards and treats it as righteousness, and this makes it evangelical righteousness. But an evangelical righteousness must consist of evangelical works. But according to the Arminian, faith is no work, it can neither be legal nor evangelical, righteousness. Yet it is the righteousness which justifies. As such it is imputed to us. What then is it? What can it be? The only solution is, that the Arminian is right in saying, Faith justifies: as to the general fact that is true; but when he undertakes to show how faith justifies, he utterly breaks down. His denial of Representation and Imputation plunges him into self-contradiction and absurdity.

The argument against this view:

1. A wholly untenable distinction is drawn between the ground and the matter of justification. What is the ground? That on account of which we are justified. What is the matter? The same. Where then is the difference? To say, then, that faith is the matter of justification is to displace Christ’s righteousness as the grounds; and on the other hand, to admit Christ’s righteousness as its ground is to confess that faith cannot be its matter. Self-contradiction is lodged in the doctrine.

2. Faith is made our own righteousness–a personal, subjective obedience. It must therefore be our own work. But this contradicts both Scripture and the Arminian position itself; the former, because it declares that by works no man can be justified; the latter, because it denies faith to be a work.

There is a great principle here involved, which the Arminian theology utterly rejects, but which is absolutely necessary to the settlement of this question. It is, That we must possess—ourselves possess—a righteousness of works, which completely satisfies the requirements of the law, or else the law is dispensed with and sacrificed. There are only two ways, in which we can be possessed of such a righteousness: Either we must consciously work it out ourselves; or, another must work it out for us, and it must become ours by its being imputed to us. The Arminian holds that neither is possible; neither can we consciously work out a legal righteousness ourselves, nor can the legal righteousness wrought out by another be imputed to us so as to become ours. What then is his position? That: That while neither of these suppositions can be realised in fact, our faith or trust in the merits of Christ-—a faith or trust which is not itself a legal work or righteousness—is imputed to us in lieu of a legal righteousness, and God justifies us as believers, without our possessing any legal righteousness at all. Faith, then, which justifies, is according to his own statement not a legal righteousness. Now, to sum up: As, according to him, we have no legal righteousness, either as wrought out by ourselves, or as inputed to us, or as believing in Christ, we have no legal righteousness in any way; we are justified without having–possessing any legal righteousness. But this is impossible. God cannot pronounce us righteous unless, in some way, we are so.

The proofs of this position are given, under the first head, in which the answer of the Indifferentists is considered.

3. It makes faith a suppositious, constructive and unreal righteousness. It is not the righteousness which God’s law requires, but is accepted in the place of it as though it were. But God requires a real, substantive righteousness. Now, either that is Christ’s righteousness, or our own. Arminians deny that it is Christ’s righteousness which is imputed for justification. Therefore, according to them, it is our own. But by our own righteousness, real or unreal, shall no flesh be justified.

4. The reality of faith as an instrument or condition is destroyed. If not it is part of a real substantive righteousness; but that is denied. What of reality then is left to faith?

5. As an exercise of power to believe man’s will is made to produce it, undetermined by grace. How then are we justified by grace?

6. The Arminian view is inconsistent with the express language of Scripture.
Take the text: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” Now that the righteousness mentioned here is the righteousness which justifies is so clear, that to deny it is to plunge into contradiction and absurdity. It cannot possibly be the rectitude of God; for that condemns the sinner. But if it be justifying righteousness, as, according to the Arminian, faith is our justifying righteousness, faith is said by Paul to be revealed from faith to faith! That construction of the Apostle’s language is scarcely possible.

So with other passages, this, for example: that I may “be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

It is evident that faith cannot be the matter of justification. It cannot be the righteousness of God which is revealed to faith; and that righteousness along justifies. The Arminian denies the imputation of another’s righteousness. He affirms that faith is not a real, legal righteousness. He is therefore shut up to the infinite absurdity that God justifies one who has no real righteousness.

VI. The Answer of the Lutheran and Calvinist: “We may be justified and saved only on account of the righteousness of Christ–that is the vicarious obedience of Christ–the righteousness of another, imputed to us and received by faith alone.

It is of great consequence to decide aright the question, which is the “righteousness of God” spoken of in the text.

1. It cannot be intrinsic righteousness, or rectitude, of the divine nature. That is absurd.

2. It cannot be the rectoral righteousness of God—that by which He administers His moral government. This is equally absurd.

3. It cannot be faith, as was shown under the preceding head.

4. It cannot be God’s method of justification. This view is adopted by some Arminians, and by some Calvinists, as Dr. John Brown, in his Analytical Exposition of Romans. This violates the analogy of Scripture.

(1) Righteousness without works is said to be imputed (Rom. 4). It would be absurd to speak of a method of justification being imputed.

(2) The righteousness which is by the faith of Christ is contrasted with the righteousness which is one’s own (Phil. 3:9). There would be no meaning in the comparison of one’s personal righteousness with God’s method of justification.

(3) Our guilt imputed to Christ is contrasted with His righteousness imputed to us (II Cor. 5:21).

(4) Christ is made of God to us—righteousness.

(5) Christ has brought in everlasting righteousness.

(6) Christ is the Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6).

5. The righteousness of God is the righteousness of Christ—the vicarious obedience of Christ to the precept and penalty of God’s law.

Scriptural proofs: Jer. 23:6. This is His name, whereby He shall be called. The Lord our Righteousness. He who has Christ has His righteousness. II Cor. 5:21. That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Take the whole verse and the proof is irresistable. I Cor. 1:30. Christ Jesus who is made of God unto us . . . righteousness. Rom. 4:6. Blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness, without works. A righteousness to be real must consist of works; but as this does not of our works, it must of another works; even Christ’s. Phil. 3:9. The righteousness which is said to be a gift, is expressly said to be the righteousness of One—that is, of Christ; and then it is, further exegetically defined to be the obedience of one by which many are made righteous. This absolutely settles the case. As the sinful act of Adam the representative of his seed is imputed to them as in him theirs; so the obedience of Christ the representative of His seed is imputed to them as in Him theirs.

The Calvinistic doctrine of justification contains the following things:

(1) The ground and matter (or material cause) of justification. This is the vicarious righteousness of Christ imputed to the sinner by God.

(2) The constituent elements of justification. These are, first, pardon, or the non-imputation of guilt; secondly, the acceptance of the sinner’s person as righteous, and his investiture with a right and title to eternal life.

(3) The instrument or organ of justification. This is faith. It receives and rests upon the righteousness of Christ, which God imputes.

Taken generally, justification may be said to consist of three things: first, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness; secondly, the non-imputation of guilt, or pardon; thirdly, the acceptance of the person as righteous and the bestowal upon him of a right and title to eternal life. But taken strictly, justification is the non-imputation of guilt, or pardon, and the acceptance of the person as righteous and the bestowal upon him of a right and title to eternal life. The ground and the constituent elements ought not to be confounded. It is not: justification is the non-imputation of guilt and the imputation of righteousness, which would seem to be the natural antithesis. But first comes the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, as the ground, and then the elements or parts, of justification—namely, pardon and acceptance.

Faith is no part of justification. It simply receives the righteousness of Christ, offered as the ground of acceptance and relies upon it. It is the condition—as an indispensable duty—without which we cannot be acceptably justified. It is Emptiness filled with Christ’s Fulness. It is Impotence lying down on His Strength. It is no righteousness; it is no substitute for righteousness; it is not imputed as righteousness. It is counted to us simply as the act which apprehends Christ’s righteousness unto justification. All it does is to take what God gives—Christ and His righteousness.

Illustration: A wounded soldier with both arms shot off, lying on his back helpless, fed from a bowl in the hands of a Christian nurse–a ministering angel to him in his inability. The dying man’s receiving life.

RECAPITULATION.

There are only three conceivable suppositions as to justification:

Either, we may be justified without any righteousness.
Or, we may be justified on account of a personal and inherent righteousness.
Or, we may be justified on account of a vicarious and imputed righteousness.

To state them more briefly: Either, no righteousness; or, Our own righteousness; or, Another’s righteousness.

The first and second suppositions have been disproved. Therefore the third remains established.

The vicarious obedience of Jesus, our Substitute, to the precept and penalty of the divine law is the righteousness of God, which is revealed from faith to faith. It is fitly termed the righteousness of God, not only because Christ’s righteousness was provided, and is accepted, by God, but because it was wrought out by God Himself in the person of His Incarnate Son. It is God’s righteousness, because God produced it. This is imputed by God to the believing sinner, who had no share at all in its conscious production. In that sense, it is not his, but another’s righteousness. But as Christ was his Representative and Substitute, and His righteousness is imputed to the believer, in this sense, it becomes his. It is his in law, before the divine tribunal. God therefore is just in justifying him, since he has a perfect righteousness, such as the law demands and such as satisfies its claims. When the sinner by faith accepts Christ, with this righteousness, he is actually and consciously justified.

This righteousness is “antecedently and immediately” imputed to all the elect, in mass in the justification of Christ as their Federal Head and Representative, upon His resurrection and appearance in the heavens.

The application is obvious: There is one only way of justification and salvation. Believe, take Christ’s righteousness and be saved. Reject this justifying righteousness, and you are lost.

[The sermon reproduced here today comes from a rare publication titled Old Paths. That publication was issued by the Rev. John Cavitt Blackburn, grandson of the Rev. John L. Girardeau.  The PCA Historical Center has among its collections this one sermon, clipped from volume 3, no. 5 of Old Paths. Regrettably, to date we have not been able to locate other issues of that publication.]

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Christian Education in its Principles

John Newton Waddell was born on April 2, 1812 in Willington, South Carolina to the Rev. Moses Waddell and his wife Eliza Woodson Pleasant Waddell. He received his education at the University of Georgia, attending there from 1826-1829 and graduating with the Bachelor of Arts degree. He taught at an Academy in Willington, SC from 1830-1832 and was principal of a grammar school in Athens, Georgia from 1833-1834. For a time he turned his hand to farming in South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi, 1835-1841, before answering a call to the ministry.

He was licensed to preach by Mississippi Presbytery on 15 September 1841 and then served as stated supply for the Mt. Hermon Presbyterian Church of Smith County, Mississippi in 1842. He was then ordained to the pastorate by Tombeckbee Presbytery on 23 October 1843, initially serving as stated supply for the Montrose and Mt. Moriah churches of Newton County, MS, while also serving as a teacher at the Montrose Academy from 1841-1848.

Rev. Waddell next served as stated supply for the Presbyterian church in Oxford, MS and concurrently as a professor of ancient languages at the University of Mississippi, from 1849-1857, having formerly served on the school’s Board of Trustees prior to his appointment. From 1857-1861, Waddell was a professor at the Synodical College in LaGrange, Tennessee. He then worked as an agent for the Bible Society attached to the Confederate States Army, from 7 February to 7 May, 1863 and as Commissioner to the Army of Mississippi (CSA), from 1863 until the close of the war in 1865.

After the war, Rev. Waddell was Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, from 1865 to 1874, and during these years he occasionally served as stated supply for the Oxford and Hopewell churches. Leaving the University of Mississippi, Rev. Waddell was Executive Secretary for the Georgia Commission on Education, from 1874-1879. He somehow also managed to serve as stated supply for the Lauderdale St. church in Memphis during these same years.

From 1879 to 1888, Waddell was Chancellor of the Southwest Presbyterian University, located in Clarksville, Tennessee. He is credited with calling Dr. Joseph Ruggles Wilson, the father of President Woodrow Wilson, to teach at Clarksville. Illness forced his retirement in 1888, though he apparently remained in the Clarksville area until 1891, and he then resided in Avondale (Birmingham), Alabama from 1891 to 1895. Rev. Waddell died in 1895, and is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Honors conferred upon Rev. Waddell included the Doctor of Divinity degree, awarded by the University of Nashville in 1850 and the Doctor of Laws degree (LL.D.), awarded by the University of Georgia in 1873. Rev. Waddell is noted as having called to order the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. He also served as Moderator of the PCUS General Assembly in 1868 and as stated clerk for General Assembly from 1861-1865.

Prior to the War and before the Old School Presbyterian Church was divided North and South, Rev. Waddell brought a sermon before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (Old School), as it met in New Orleans on May 12, 1858. His message was brought on behalf of the Presbyterian Board of Education, and was titled Christian Education in its Principles:—

Christian Education in its Principles

“19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”—Matthew 28:19-20.

These are the words of the Great Teacher. They were uttered by him who was truly styled by Nicodemus, “a teacher come from God.” Concerning him also, it was the involuntary testimony of emissaries sent by his enemies to apprehend him, “never man spake like this man.” Accordingly, a serious study of the whole life of our incarnate Lord will inevitably lead to the conclusion that he came into the world to teach. To this end we find him, at the age of twelve years, in the temple, sitting among the doctors, “both hearing them and asking them questions,” thus preparing himself to become a teacher of others, and styling this, the being “about his Father’s business.” The prophets, in whose sublime writings Christ is the prominent subject, speak of him as the Counsellor, from whom God’s word and wisdom were to proceed in the form of instructions coming with authority divine. That phrase proper for human prophets commissioned of God, as a preface to their deliverances, “Thus, saith the Lord,” was to be substituted in the precepts of Christ by the emphatic declaration, “Verily, verily, I say unto you.” And his history is the record of the great system which he came to establish.

Whether, therefore, by his preaching in the synagogues, when all “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth;” or, on the Mount, when he opened his mouth and taught the multitude by rectifying the false interpretations and glosses of the Jewish teachers, and presenting the true theory of his own moral code; or, to other multitudes that thronged and pressed upon him in his journeyings, by parables of inimitable beauty and appositeness; or at the well-side, in Sychar, where he sat wearied, and revealed to the sinful Samaritan, not only her sins, but the way of life and salvation; or, in the retired circle of his own immediate family, when he expounded to them more clearly the things of the kingdom; or by the refutation of cavils proposed by the designing enemies who constantly beset his path; or by the amazing wisdom which confounded those who sought to entrap him by questions into an expression of blasphemy or of disloyalty; or by miracles which, while they manifested forth his glory, and proved his divinity also in their character as redemptive acts, forcibly adumbrated some great doctrine of his Gospel; or when tempted in the wilderness; or when turning his cheek to the smiter, and giving his back to the scourge; or when going like sheep before his shearers, dumb to the slaughter, and instead of blasting with a bolt of holy indignation the murderous rabble on Calvary, praying for his enemies, and meekly bowing his head and giving up the ghost: we may not fail to gather from this view of the life-work and dying agony of Jesus, our master, that he was a teacher.

True to this great office, he is to be found, during his life, gathering around him multitudes whom he taught, as a vast school, these great truths which entered into the soul, and shed there a light, scattering the natural darkness of the mind, and the clouds of still more palpable gloom engendered by the false teachings of which they were the victims. A clear inspection of his system will present him narrowing his instructions within a circle of seventy, whom he qualified and sent forth to be themselves teachers of the erring and the ignorant. And yet again, we find him selecting from the number of his followers, twelve, as the favored recipients of the great truths of his Gospel, and daily for three years keeping them in constant attendance upon himself as the members of his own family, and then commissioning them as his representatives to teach all nations. And once more we may detect a still more minute subdivision of this class of twelve, in the favorite three, Peter, James, and John, to whom he imparted lessons, and whom he admitted to privileges of intimacy granted to none others, on the consecrated summit of Tabor, and in the memorable garden of Gethsemane.

To have recorded the lessons of wisdom that fell from his lips, or were imparted by his acts, is an acknowledged impossibility; the world itself would not have contained the books that should have been written to set them forth. We only catch glimpses as it were of the Sun of righteousness as it beamed upon the darkness that covered the earth, sufficient to assure us of the exhaustless nature of the Fountain of light. Confirmatory of this truth is the office assigned him in all scriptural systems of theology, as the prophet of his Church. Let it be observed that while the word of God is clear in setting forth that Christ is a priest and a king as well as a prophet, yet it is a very easily demonstrable fact, that these offices are both inseparably interwoven with, and indebted for their vital efficiency to his prophetic office.

For while the priestly office of Christ in its execution is the divinely appointed method of accomplishing the only plan of salvation, it is undeniable, not only that the knowledge of God, the knowledge of Christ, the knowledge of ourselves, the great truths of the scheme of redemption, must be taught before we can receive Christ as a priest; but also, that the very sacrifice itself, is the most impressive form in which these truths can be taught. For it is beyond all doubt, that when the Son of God was crucified, and offered as a sacrifice for his ransomed Church, he was filling the office of teacher of the great doctrine of the atonement, not only no less than by actual precept, but with far more impressive and irresistible energy and power. By the teaching office men are enlightened in the knowledge of those truths embodied in the sacrifice he offered as the great high priest of our profession.

Again, as to his kingly office in its dependencies upon his prophetic office, as the Church of Jesus Christ is the only visible representation of his kingdom, and as this kingdom is spiritual, and includes the solemn ordinances, the holy oracles, and the heaven-appointed ministry, you perceive from the very constitution of this kingdom, that the prophetic or teaching office is of primary importance, and absolutely essential to its establishment and prosperity. For, while he reigns as king in Zion, it is obvious that his ordinances symbolize, his oracles confirm, and his ministers expound and vindicate those truths, which are at once the law of his kingdom, the instruments of its conquests, and the bulwarks of its defence.

In his own declaration to Pilate, in reply to the question, “Art thou a king?” while he acknowledges that he claims this office—“thou sayest I am a king”—he also bears his own testimony to the teaching character of his kingly office : “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” Thus declaring that as a king he reigns over men by enlightening and efficiently controlling their hearts and affections by the influence of the truth, applied spiritually and not by force. By his teaching office it is then that Christ, as King in Zion, first subdues us to himself, then reigns in and defends and crowns the work by conquering all his and our enemies. It is then a truth, of which we must not lose sight, that Christ Jesus the Lord was the model teacher. His teaching office he makes prominent in all he ever said to men on earth. It stands forever pre-eminent among the offices he fills in his Church. He taught in the temple, by the wayside, in cities and in villages. His example taught when in the wilderness with the tempter, and on the cross with his murderers. He was teaching as he sat at meat; he was teaching as he journeyed on the highway. He taught by parable, he taught by miracle. He taught when in the Mount of Transfiguration. He taught in the Garden of his agony. He taught on bloody Calvary. In life and in death he was the great teacher, and thus indicates to the Church he bought with his blood, and established as his kingdom on earth, that the teaching office was the peculiar distinctive function she, the Church, was designed to fulfill.

To read the rest of Rev. Waddell’s sermon delivered before the General Assembly, click here.

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“I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people”

Augustus Brodhead was born into the family of the Hon. John H. and Eliza (Ross) Brodhead, on May 13, 1831, in Milford, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Union College in New York in 1855, and was then admitted to Princeton Theological Seminary, where he took the full course. Upon graduation from Princeton, he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Hudson, whereupon he was appointed by the Board of Foreign Missions (PCUSA) to serve as a missionary to India. Brodhead was then ordained as an evangelist by the same Presbytery on May 4, 1858.

It was at that very time that the Sepoy Mutiny had so disrupted all Christian work in the Northwest Provinces of India. Four PCUSA missionaries, along with their families, had been massacred. Indian Christians in that region had been scattered, and chaos still reigned. “But,” as the historian remembers, “all the atrocities of the mutiny and all the uncertainties of the future could not daunt the courage or shake the resolution of those young Christians who consecrated themselves to the service of the India Mission and pressed forward to take the place of their martyred brethren.”

In the midst of summer that year, Mr. Brodhead was married to Miss Emily Cumming, of Princeton, New Jersey, on July 15, 1858, and they sailed for India on November 7th. After a protracted voyage which took them around the Cape of Good Hope, they arrived at last in Calcutta on April 4th, 1859.

Their first settlement in India was in Mainpuri, a moderate sized town of about 25,000 inhabitants, in Uttar Pradesh, located between the Ganges and Jumna Rivers. Working here, and also in the military garrison of Fatehgarh, about thirteen years were spent preaching, teaching and ministering to the native churches and assisting them with evangelistic efforts.

In 1872, the Mission Board transferred Rev. Brodhead to Allahabad, the seat of government for the Northwest Province. Here he took on a key role in the Theological Training School of the Synod of India, writing and publishing on the subjects of biblical and church history, along with some devotional literature. Only about three or four of his works appear to have survived to the present day. Rev. Brodhead also edited a magazine published by the Mission for use by the native Christians, and assisted in the preparation of hymnals, composing a large number of hymns and translating many others. Much of his time was taken up with managing the North India Bible and Tract Society and the Christian Vernacular Education Society. It was said of his that “his knowledge of affairs, his calm and impartial judgment, his warm and kindly heart, his extensive missionary experience, combined to give him great influence, not only in his own, but also in the missions of other denominations.

Finally, after a series of severe illnesses weakened his health, he was advised to quit the mission field. Reluctantly, he agreed and returned to the United States in 1878. For a brief time he was employed as Stated Supply in several churches, but then answered a call to serve as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Bridgeton, New Jersey.

The Rev. Brodhead pastored this church from 1881 until his death on August 29, 1887, though it is recorded that he died in Toronto, Canada. His wife Emily survived him by nearly eighteen years, dying in 1905, and her remains were buried in the Princeton, New Jersey cemetery.

Words to Live By:
Has God called you to serve in missions? If not by your moving to other lands, then certainly by your daily, prayerful support of those who are on the field, often risking everything, to bring the Gospel hope of a risen Savior.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  (Matthew 28:19-20, KJV).

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What Are My Duties?

[excerpted from THE CHARLESTON OBSERVER, 12.15 (14 April 1838) 58, col. 6.]

MY PASTOR AND MYSELF.

It is the duty of my pastor to “preach the Word”—to “watch for souls as they that must give account”—to “feed the flock over which the Holy Ghost has made him an overseer”—to “warn, reprove, and rebuke, with all long-suffering and doctrine”—to comfort the afflicted, support the weak, and be “all things to all men that he may win some” to Christ. But it is not my object to specify all the duties which devolve upon him in his relation as a Minister of the Gospel, and as the Shepherd of a flock. These duties are delineated on the sacred pages in scattered fragments, and may be collected at leisure by every diligent student of the Bible. They are laid down for the most part in general terms, and relate to the care which he is to take of his own heart, “lest after having preached the Gospel to others he himself should be a castaway.”—to the improvement of his own mind, so that his “lips should keep knowledge,” and impart it to others—to his own temper and spirit, that he may prove “an example to the flock—and to the Church in particular and society at large, that he may “edify the body of Christ,” and bring in to the fold those who are wandering from the great Shepherd of Israel. From this hasty and very imperfect sketch it will be seen that his calling has a responsibility which no mere mortal man can adequately perform. Like every redeemed sinner, he must throw himself upon the grace of God, and there must be his reliance.

And now I have a word to say as to myself. I have been one of those who have demanded that my Pastor should exhibit a perfect character. And my standard of perfection has been drawn more from my own state of feeling than from the Word of God. If he did not preach to suit me I felt a disposition to complain. If he reproved, I thought him personal. If in his public performances he exhorted to a duty, I inwardly said that I would act my own pleasure about it. If he did not visit me as often as I thought he might, I looked upon him as neglecting his charge.—And when he did visit me I was not in a suitable frame of mind to be profited by the interview. I talked about him and against him to others, and thus sowed the seeds of dissatisfaction among the members of the Church. But was I right in this course? Can I justify it? Is it consistent with my covenant vows? And how can I answer for it when he and I shall meet at the judgment bar? These and similar reflections begin to give me serious concern. If a pastor has duties to perform, there are correspondent duties that belong to his people, and I am free to acknowledge that mind have not been done, and I too must, if I am to be forgiven, take sanctuary in the grace and mercy of God.

—CONFITEOR.
[The author here takes the Latin word for “I confess” as his pseudonymn]

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This Day in Presbyterian History:  

Benefits of God’s Grace

Without any historical person, place, or thing found  in Presbyterian history, we turn back to one of the more comforting Shorter Catechisms in our Westminster Standards. Question and answer 36 speaks of those benefits which flow during our lifetime from justification and adoption and sanctification. These latter benefits are the three great foundational benefits.   But God has also given us from them five other benefits in this life. They are: assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance unto the end.  Let’s briefly look at each one.

Assurance of God’s love is promised to believers. All through Scripture we have many precious promises that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  Romans chapter 8 is filled with such promises, especially verses 28 – 39. He assures us of His love by His written word and His wonderful providence in our life. No believer should be content to go through life without the assurance of God’s love.

Peace of conscience is closely associated with the last benefit.  Being assured of God’s love, we know that we are the son or daughter of God, that all judgment against us has been paid by Christ’s own death, burial, and resurrection, that nothing can accuse us successfully, our sins are under the blood of Christ, and we have the promise of eternal life.  If God can be for us, who then can be against us? Answer: No one!  That produces peace of conscience.

Joy in the Holy Ghost or Spirit is the third benefit in this life.  All of the above which is written about the three foundational benefits plus the two above which flow from them causes us to rejoice in the Holy Ghost.  This is a Scriptural expression, found in Romans 14:17, where we read of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (KJV)  It is true that being still sinners, though not under its power any more, we still sin.  And that causes sorrow to us.  But the joy of our salvation can be restored to us.  David prayed that in Psalm 51.  And the entire book of First John is to cause us to have joy in the Holy Spirit.

Increase of grace is to be our daily experience.  We are to be growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.  It is true that on some days we may be advancing in grace and other days declining in grace.  It may be one step forward and two steps backwards. But this increase in grace is to be our disposition always.

Last, we are to persevere to the end.  We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.  But at the same time, we as believers must  persevere in holiness.  We must press on to the prize of the high calling of God in salvation.

All these are benefits in this life.

Words to Live By: 
What a great catechism for self-examination.  Which of these benefits do we enjoy in this life?  What has occurred in our life that has caused us to lose any of them?  How must we re-possess them?  These questions cannot be answered by anyone else except you?  Pastors may help.  Parents may be a guide.  Close personal friends can encourage.  But essentially it comes down to you, your Bible, prayer, and other means of grace which will help you.  What are you waiting for?

Through the Scriptures: Isaiah 37 – 39

Through the Standards: The significance of father and mothers of the fifth commandment

WLC 124 — “Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?  A. By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents, but all superiors in age and gifts, and especially such as, by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family, church, or commonwealth.”

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An Opportunity for Vindication

The letter is still preserved at the state history building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Written to the Rev. William Marshall on June 6, 1786, it states simply that he, the pastor of the Scots Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had infringed on the rights of several members of the congregation. The letter continued on to state that he had a right to answer their complaints by appearing before these men, and this is the interesting part of the letter, his appearance was “for his own vindication.”

Whether such a meeting ever took place, the records of the church do not say. But we do know that the alleged confrontation between the pastor and several men of the congregation did take place against the backdrop of a schism in that local church. It seems that half of the congregation wished to separate from the mother synod in Scotland and united with the American Presbyterian denomination.  The dissenters who desired the latter must have had the majority as Rev. Marshall and his followers were forced out of the pulpit and pew.  They relocated to another place in Philadelphia and built their church.

The original majority continued on at their place of ministry, seeking fellowship with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. in 1822. It was said that they desired this union as there would be “more catholicity of communion and more liberty of worship.” As they were closely aligned with the covenanting side of the Scottish Presbyterian church, this contributor assumed that they wished to have more fellowship as well as not being bound by exclusive psalmody.  From 1866 to 1884, the church was without a pastor and for all intents, closed. In 1883, the remaining congregation was merged with the young South Broad Street Presbyterian church, under the Scots Presbyterian name. Pictured at right is the building constructed in 1886 for the recently merged congregation. Eventually this church merged with the Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church, which today now has the oldest pre-Revolutionary Presbyterian building still in use in Philadelphia.  It is associated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Words to Live By: Christians in general need to think twice about how they approach the teaching elder, or pastor of their church with a critical spirit. Scripture is clear on this. Hebrews 13:17 reads, “Obey your leaders, and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” (NASB)  And 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13 reads, “But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.” (NASB) Pastors need prayer more than criticisms by the congregation. When there are serious, real problems, invest much time in prayer and then follow Matthew 18:15.

For further reading : Scots Presbyterian Church, Old and New, 1766-1887, by John C. Thompson. [copies of this history may be found preserved at the PCA Historical Center (St. Louis); the New York Historical Society Library (New York City); the American Antiquarian Society (Boston); and at the Presbyterian Historical Society (Philadelphia).]

Through the Scriptures: Proverbs 19 – 21

Through the Standards:  The duty and fruits of true assurance

WCF 18:3
“This infallible assurance does not so belong to the essence of faith, but that a true believer may wait long, and conflict with many difficulties, before he be a partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto.  And therefore it is the duty of every one to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure, that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance; so far is it from inclining men to looseness.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History:   

Do You Know King Jesus?

We have looked at the two offices of prophet and priest which Jesus executes.  Now we come, in the absence of anything Presbyterian, to Jesus executing the office of king.  Number 25 of the Shorter Catechism reminds us that “Christ executes the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.”

Christ in the past is a king, is One now, and ever will be a king.  His kingdom is a spiritual and invisible one.  He Himself said in the midst of  His arrest to Pilate that “My kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.  But now my kingdom is from another place.” (NIV – John 18:36).  But it is in existence, and we as His people are kingdom-citizens of it.  Paul tells us “he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” (NIV – Colossians 1:13)

Jesus executes this office of kingdom by subduing us to Himself.  “Thy people,” the Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 110:3 “shall be willing in the day of thy power.” (KJV)  He further rules over us.  “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (KJV – 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)  He in addition as king defends us.  When God delivered the Psalmist from the hands of his enemies, David broke out in psalm, singing Psalm 18:1, 2 “I love you, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (NIV)  Last, He restrains and conquers all His and our enemies.  In a text which has been quoted by His kingdom-citizens in harrowing days of old, to say nothing of the persecuted brothers and sisters all over this world, John the apostle reminds us that “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (ESV – 1 John 4:4b)

Words to Live By: As king, Christ’s mediatorial activity is performed in both directions — upward in intercession, and downward in applying the benefits of redemption and administering the affairs of His church.  As king, Christ meets the problem of man’s weakness and dependence, supplying us with power and protection.

Through the Scriptures: Psalms 55 – 57

Through the Standards: The subject, sphere, and ground of adoption

WLC 74  — “What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of the free grace of God, in and for his only Son Jesus Christ, whereby all those that are justified are received into the number of his children, have his name put upon them, the Spirit of his Son given to them, are under his fatherly care and dispensations, admitted to all the liberties and privileges of the sons of God, made heirs of all the promises, and fellow-heirs with Christ in glory.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History: 

An Effective Pastor of the Flock

Try to think of the most effective evangelists  in  the nineteenth century—men like Dwight L. Moody, Billy Sunday, John Wilbur Chapman. Wait! J. Wilbur Chapman? Who was he, you might ask? And yet this nineteenth century evangelist had the experience of leading thousands to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even if we don’t know him in particular, all Christians have sung, and many loved what has been called the greatest gospel content song of all time, namely, “One Day.”  He also wrote “Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners!”  So you know him as a hymn writer. Let’s get better acquainted.

John Wilbur Chapman was a Presbyterian pastor and evangelist.  Born in 1859 in a Christian home, he was educated at Lake Forest University and Lane Theological Seminary.  He was ordained on April 13, 1881 by the Presbytery of Whitewater, Ohio.  A few days later, he married Irene Sleddon.

Entering the pastorate, his first charge was a yoked pastorate over two Presbyterian churches in Indiana and Ohio in 1882.  John was able to serve both churches by alternating his preaching first one week at one church and then the next Sunday at the other.

In 1883, he was given a call to the Old Saratoga Dutch Reformed Church in Albany, New York.  This was not a Presbyterian congregation but one which was still very much within the Reformed tradition. In 1885, in the same town, he was called and accepted as pastor to the First Reformed Church.

Under his evangelistic ministry, the church grew from 150 members to 1500 members.  At least 500 conversions took place in those years.

Sorrow struck his family one year later when his wife Irene passed away.  He was left as a single parent with a young daughter. That year, still grieving, he heard a message by the celebrated preacher F.B. Meyer. In speaking of whole-hearted surrender to the Lord’s will, Meyer said “If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?”  That one question, Chapman said, “changed my whole ministry; it seemed like a new star in the sky of my life.”

Five years later, J. Wilbur Chapman began the greatest of his four pastorates, at the Bethany Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This was the home church of merchant John Wanamaker.

Soon after he arrived, however, an individual went up to Rev. Chapman and said, “You are not a very strong preacher, but a few of us have decided to gather and pray every Sunday for you.”   That Sunday prayer meeting for the pastor and his ministry at Bethany, grew to over a thousand individuals praying for the effectiveness of the Word of God through J. Wilbur Chapman.  Soon a revival started in the church in which 400 were added to the church rolls.  Two years later, J. Wilbur Chapman left the pastorate to become a full-time evangelist, where he had his greatest ministry to the Lord.

Words to Live By:  Do you, as a member of a Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching church, pray for your pastor?  Do you pray for his preparation of the Word, his evangelism opportunities, his counseling sessions, his home and hospital visitations, his administrative duties, and his  family?  Pray, pray, pray for the pastors of our churches!

Through the Scriptures:   Psalm 7 – 9

Through the Standards:  Limits and certainty of the application of redemption

WLC 57 — “What benefits has Christ procured by his mediation?
A.  Christ, by his mediation, has procured redemption, with all other benefits of the covenant of grace.”

WLC 58 “How do we come to be made partakers of  the benefits which Christ has procured?
A.  We are made partakers of the benefits which Christ has procured, by the application of them unto us, which is the work especially of God the Holy Ghost.”

WLC 59 “Who are made partakers of redemption through Christ?
A.  Redemption is certainly applied, and effectually communicated, to all those for whom Christ has purchased it; who are in time by the Holy Ghost enabled to believe in Christ according to the gospel.”

WSC 29 “How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A.  We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.”;

WSC 30  “How does the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
A.  The Spirit applies to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History: 

Christ, the Son of God, became Man

Finding nothing of national importance in historic Presbyterianism [you should always feel free to remind us of important people or events], we turn to Shorter Catechism 22 for our devotional today.  It asks the question of the manner of the incarnation of Christ.  In answer, our Westminster divines state, “Christ, the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of  her, yet without sin.”

While not a historical event in American Presbyterianism, still the contents of this answer sum up the battle in Presbyterianism in the early nineteen twenties and thirties between the theological conservatives and liberals.  Was Christ the Son of God?  Was He conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost?  Was the Virgin Birth true?  All these were issues fought in the proverbial trenches of seminary class rooms and pulpits across the land.

This answer sums up biblical Christianity regarding the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  He, being the Son of God, became man “by taking to himself a true body.”  An ancient heresy was behind the inclusion of these words in this phrase.  Docetism in the early church taught that Jesus took to Himself only the appearance of a body.  Believing that all matter was essentially impure, they taught that our Lord’s body was not and could not be real flesh and blood.  John the apostle fought against this heresy when he wrote in 1 John 4:2, 3 “By this you may know (perceive and recognize) the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges and confesses [the fact] that Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [actually] has become man and has come in the flesh is of God [has God for its source.]  And every spirit which does not acknowledge and confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh [but would annul, destroy, sever, disunite Him] is not of God [does not proceed from Him] is not of God [does not proceed from Him].  This [nonconfession is the [spirit] of the antichrist, [of] which you heard that it was coming, and now it is already in the world.” (Amplified)  The inspired apostle John says clearly that Docetism is heresy.  Our Confessional fathers state that the incarnation or the taking upon Himself a true body is biblical.

He has also taken upon Himself “a reasonable soul.”  Again, unless we have the  struggles of the early church in our mind and hearts, we will not understand the importance of this phrase.  This clause in the catechism was added due to the false teaching of Apollinaris.  He and his followers falsely suggested that Jesus had a body, but not a soul. They could not accept that Christ had human affections and a human will.  Yet every page of Scripture testifies of the reality of our Lord’s humanity.  He could rejoice and He could sorrow.  He could show compassion on the sheep without a shepherd. He had a human will distinct from a divine will, so that He could say with respect to the Father’s will regarding His atonement, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” (KJV – Matthew 26:39)

Then, we have the phrases in catechism number 22 which states, “being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her.”  These two phrases spoke loud and clear regarding the disbelief which was present in the Auburn Affirmation of 1924.  It is why J. Gresham Machen wrote his classic book, “The Virgin Birth of Christ.” Both Matthew 1 and Luke 1 both speak of the supernatural birth of our Lord and Savior.

We cannot miss the last phrase which states, “and yet without sin.”  He escaped being defiled with original sin by being born of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.  He who knew no sin, became sin for us, as our sins were imputed to Him.

Words to Live By: A memorization of this catechism answer will keep you in the faith and keep you from departing the faith.

Through the Scriptures:  2 Samuel 1 – 4

Through the Standards: The degrees of sin

WLC 150  “Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
A. All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sigh of God than others.”

WSC 83 “Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?
A. Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.”

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